High School Sports

Taking an early look at the District 6 softball, baseball tournaments and their seedings

Bald Eagle Area softball coach Don Lucas high fives Maddie Peters as she rounds third from her homer during the game against Philipsburg-Osceola on Thursday, April, 4, 2019.
Bald Eagle Area softball coach Don Lucas high fives Maddie Peters as she rounds third from her homer during the game against Philipsburg-Osceola on Thursday, April, 4, 2019. adrey@centredaily.com

The District 6 seedings for both baseball and softball were announced Tuesday.

You can find the schedules for all the local teams below, along with brief previews of the county’s opening-round games:

Softball

Class 6A

No. 2-seed State College vs. No. 3-seed Altoona, 4 p.m. Thursday (at State College): The winner will face top-seed Mifflin County in the district championship at a time TBA May 22 at St. Francis.

The Lady Little Lions (9-9) haven’t actually faced Altoona yet this season, but they’ve twice beaten Mifflin County — most recently 13-3 Friday. Prior to Tuesday’s announcement of the seedings, Altoona had just one win on the year and lost by an average margin of nine runs.

State College’s pitching has been streaky this season, but the offense has been elite. Three players are batting over .400: Ashley Blumenthal (.458), McKenzie Shannon (.418) and Brandi Triebold (.410).

Class 4A (District 5/6)

No. 4-seed Bellefonte at No. 1-seed Greater Johnstown, 4 p.m. May 23 (at Greater Johnstown): This semifinal matchup isn’t an easy one, although the winner will advance to the District 5/6 championship against either No. 3-seed Tyrone or No. 2-seed Cambria Heights on May 29 or 30.

The Lady Red Raiders (10-8) and Greater Johnstown (13-3) haven’t squared off against one another yet this season. Although Bellefonte nursed quite a few injuries early in the year, and was without ace Lexi Rogers for a while, Greater Johnstown has still proven to be the team to beat.

It has mercy-ruled nine teams this season and has scored at least five runs against every team not named Chestnut Ridge. If Bellefonte wants to pull off the upset, Rogers will have to be on top of her game in the circle.

Class 3A (District 5/6)

No. 8-seed Penns Valley at No. 1-seed Chestnut Ridge, 4 p.m. Monday (at Chestnut Ridge): The winner will advance to the semifinals May 23, where it will take on the winner between No. 5-seed Central and No. 4-seed Ligonier Valley.

The Lady Rams (11-8) have come on late, winning four straight — including a 2-0 win over Philipsburg-Osceola last week. But, after dropping the first two games of the season, Chestnut Ridge has come on even stronger by winning 17 in a row. Chestnut Ridge (17-2) is averaging a district-best 10.95 runs per game, compared to Penns Valley’s 6.74.

Among Penns Valley’s top threats at the plate are Kendra Bumgardner (.413 BA, 9 RBIs), Kaylah Thompson (.387 BA, 10 RBIs), Kailen Winkelblech (.404 BA, 16 RBIs) and Allison O’Brien (.375 BA, 18 RBIs).

No. 3-seed Philipsburg-Osceola vs. No. 6-seed Mount Union, 4 p.m. Monday (at P-O): The winner here will take on the winner between No. 7-seed Penn Cambria and No. 2-seed Bald Eagle Area in the semifinals May 23.

Behind pitcher Kam Harris, the Mounties are allowing just 1.83 runs per game. Unfortunately for P-O, however, its offense is scoring just 5.94 runs per game — which ranks 10th out of 15 teams in the combined district.

That should make for an interesting matchup in the opening round for districts. Mount Union (15-4) boasts the second-best offense in District 5/6, behind Chestnut Ridge.

No. 2-seed Bald Eagle Area vs. No. 7-seed Penn Cambria, 4 p.m. Monday (at BEA): The winner will advance to the May 23 semifinals, where it will take on the winner between No. 3-seed Philipsburg-Osceola and No. 6-seed Mount Union.

BEA’s Madison Peters has asserted herself as one of the county’s best in the circle this season, but she’ll need some help in the batter’s box. The Lady Eagles boasted a 14-1 record before dropping two in a row late in the season and scoring no runs.

The good news? It ended the season on a high note by beating Huntingdon 13-3. BEA (15-3) has the potential to make noise in the state tournament, but it’ll have to get past a Penn Cambria team (10-7) that is relatively consistent.

Baseball

Class 6A

No. 3-seed State College at No. 2-seed Mifflin County, 4 p.m. Friday (at Mifflin County): The winner will take on top-seeded Altoona on May 22 in the district championship.

The game between the Little Lions (7-10) and Mifflin County (8-10) is pretty evenly matched. The two teams played twice this season, and they split the series. State College took Game 1 by a score of 7-2, but Mifflin County won the most recent meeting 6-5.

Mifflin County gets the edge on the mound, but the Little Lions have the advantage at the plate. State College is averaging 5.41 runs per game, noticeably better than Mifflin County’s 4.28.

Class 4A (District 5/6)

No. 2-seed Bellefonte vs. No. 3-seed Greater Johnstown, 4 p.m. Friday (at Bellefonte): The winner will advance to the district championship May 22, where it will take on top-seeded Somerset.

The Red Raiders (13-5) really don’t have much, if any, weaknesses. They’re batting .272 as a team, and their pitching has been elite.

Senior Ashton Wetzler has a 0.94 ERA and has fanned 51 batters in 44.2 innings of work. Seth Shuey (2.08 ERA, 27 Ks, 33.2 IP) and Derek Fravel (1.91 ERA, 24 Ks, 22 IP) have fared pretty well, too.

Bellefonte clearly has the edge against Greater Johnstown (6-8) and, although it’s not the top seed, it shouldn’t exactly be classified as an underdog against Somerset either.

Class 3A

No. 8-seed Penns Valley at No. 1-seed Tyrone, 4 p.m. Monday (at Tyrone): The winner will advance to the semifinals, where it will take on the winner May 23 between No. 4-seed Mount Union and No. 5-seed Ligonier Valley.

Although Penns Valley (8-10) is the bottom seed and Tyrone (17-3) is at the top, don’t count the Rams out just yet. Six of those eight losses came by two runs or less, and the Rams actually split a pair of games with Tyrone this season — falling 15-2 in the second game of the year but winning 9-4 late last month.

As a team, it’ll be hard for Tyrone to prepare for just one standout Ram. Penns Valley boasts six pitchers who’ve seen between 13 and 29 innings this season and, as a staff, they have a 1.68 ERA. At the plate, as of Friday, they were collectively batting over .300.

No. 6-seed Philipsburg-Osceola at No. 3-seed Richland, 4 p.m. Monday (at Richland): The winner here will take on the winner between No. 2-seed Forest Hills and No. 7-seed Central in the semifinals May 23.

The Mounties (13-6) have the district’s ninth-ranked offense and seventh-ranked defense out of the district’s 15 teams, but they’ve found a way to win. They also boast several stars that have the potential to turn any game on its head.

Keegan Soltis is batting an incredible .511 and has accounted for more than a quarter of the Mounties’ RBIs. And sophomore Ryan Whitehead has struck out 53 in 50 innings of work, en route to a 2.38 ERA. Take away a rough outing against Tyrone, and that ERA dips to 1.56.

Class A

No. 6-seed St. Joseph’s at No. 3-seed Saltsburg, 4 p.m. Monday (at Saltsburg): The winner will take on No. 2-seed Blacklick Valley, which is receiving a first-round bye, at 4 p.m. May 23 on the road in the semifinals.

SJCA (6-8) and Saltsburg (7-6) are both evenly matched on paper. Saltsburg, on average, is scoring about one more run per game — but the Wolves are allowing about a half-run fewer.

The two teams haven’t played each other yet this season but have one common opponent in West Shamokin. SJCA lost that game 9-5, while Saltsburg lost 11-6.

  Comments